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Woodside: Fencing setbacks debated

Original post made on Jul 17, 2014

A passionate three-hour conversation about fence regulations? It happened in Independence Hall in Woodside before the Town Council on July 8, and not a seat was left unfilled.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Opposed
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

This proposal is the definition of a government "solution in search of a problem."

Woodside's Open Space Committee believes that open fencing would foster a better "rural sensibility" (whatever that means), so it created new mandates which would impose severe restrictions on all fencing. The mandates REQUIRE that new fences be open (and lower) to allow wildlife free passage into properties, and it restricts residents use of their own property by requiring enormous setbacks for fences. This is the Committee's "solution." Then, in order to justify its mandates, the Committee found the perceived problems: (1) Unspecified wildlife supposedly needs to travel freely, and (2) the Town would look nicer (to the Committee at least) with open and lower fencing so that passersby can see onto everyone's properties.

The Committee then apparently tried to minimize opposition to its mandates by: (1)announcing/submitting its proposal for vote when many residents are out of town (July 4 weekend), (2) attempting restrict its mandates first to properties over 1 acre in size...and then to properties of more then 3 acres. The mandates are a bad idea no matter who they apply to.

The Committee did not even consider issues of security, safety and privacy. Why not? Isn't this why we have fences?

Security and safety will be compromised by the new mandates, and so will privacy. Open and lower fencing will allow wildlife to travel onto properties. This includes coyotes, mountain lions, deer (with deer ticks), all of which create risks to children and pets. Security will also be compromised because properties will be more visible to criminals and lower/open fences will make trespassing easier. Privacy will also be reduced. Resident after resident all made these points clear at Tuesday's meeting. That the Open Space Committee did not even consider safety, security or privacy shows how out of touch it is to the concerns of most residents.

There is simply no need for these draconian new mandates. Because there is no problem in the first place, there is no need for a solution. And even if a few people believe that open and lower fencing would look nice, the Committee's desire to legislate aesthetics does not justify compromising everyone's security, safety and privacy. I am opposed.

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